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What’s Included in a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

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If you’re considering booking a cruise, you might wonder what’s included in a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Almost everything you need is included in Royal Caribbean’s cruise fare, including food, accommodations, kids’ clubs, entertainment, and onboard activities.

But Royal Caribbean is not all-inclusive. Alcoholic beverages, WiFi, shore excursions, room service, and specialty restaurants are available for an extra cost.

This guide provides a better look at what’s included in a Royal Caribbean cruise.

What’s Included in a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

Symphony of the Seas docked in CocoCay private island in the Bahamas

The base fare includes many amenities and services onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Some inclusions may vary between Royal Caribbean ships or itineraries, but most Royal Caribbean cruises include the following:

  1. Accommodations: Your stateroom is included in the cost of your cruise.
  2. Food and Drinks: Dining in the main dining room, buffet, and some alternative restaurants are included in the cost of your cruise.
  3. Entertainment: Live shows, movies, music, game shows, and other onboard entertainment are included in the cost of your cruise.
  4. Activities: Most onboard activities include your Royal Caribbean cruise fare, including pools, fitness centers, surf simulators, and rock climbing.
  5. Kids’ Programs: Royal Caribbean offers some of the best kids programs in the cruise industry, which are available at no extra cost.

Accommodations

The Ultimate Family suite on the Spectrum of the Seas cruise ship with passengers on the balcony

Your cabin accommodations are included in your cruise fare. Whether you book an interior cabin, oceanview cabin, balcony cabin, or suite, the cruise fare includes your stay for the duration of the cruise.

The amenities may vary depending on the cabin category you select. But you can expect a full bathroom, beds, closet, storage, a makeup table, charging outlets, a TV, and a safe.

Your accommodations include the stateroom attendant and cabin steward, who will make up your room twice daily.

The Panoramic Ocean View suites and rooms on Icon of the Seas with floor to ceiling windows
Panoramic Ocean View Suite With Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

Suite guests receive additional perks like upgraded bathroom amenities, a Royal Genie, and priority boarding.

In general, Royal Caribbeans cabin accommodations can accommodate two to four passengers. Still, you can find larger family cabins and suites on some ships, with room for four to six.

Food and Restaurants

Royal Caribbean main dining room on Spectrum of the Seas
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean cruise fare includes meals at the complimentary restaurants on the ship, including:

  • Main Dining Room
  • Windjammer Cafe
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Cafe Promenade
  • Sorrento’s Pizza
  • Park Cafe
  • El Loco Fresh
  • Dog House
  • Cafe Two70

The available dining venues vary between ships, but it’s safe to say you won’t go hungry on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe on Royal Caribbean cruise ship

The main dining menu offers some menu items at an additional price, such as lobster or filet mignon. The for-a-fee menu options are optional when you dine in one of the complimentary restaurants.

There’s always free soft-serve ice cream near the pool deck or inside the Windjammer buffet.

The complimentary dining options are more than enough on Royal Caribbean. You can go on a whole cruise without eating in a specialty restaurant.

Reflections - the main dining room on Serenade of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has excellent food quality and high food standards. While specialty restaurants may have more upscale and higher-end menus, the free dining options don’t disappoint.

The menu in the main dining room changes daily, so you won’t get bored with the food. If you’re not a fan of the daily specials, you can order from the classics menu, which offers the same food daily.

Outside the main dining room are screens displaying that night’s menu. You can view the menu ahead of time and decide if it’s worth upgrading to a specialty restaurant or dining at the buffet.

The Windjammer is the ship’s buffet, offering a large and diverse selection of food from American favorites to international cuisines. Many food stations remain constant throughout the cruise, but some menu items change daily. The buffet provides an excellent opportunity to try something new. And there’s always something to love, even for the pickiest of eaters. 

Drinks

Royal Caribbean cruises include basic drinks like tap water, lemonade, milk, hot chocolate, drip coffee, and tea.

Complimentary drinks are available at all of the ship’s restaurants, bars, and lounges. The water from the tap is safe to drink and meets quality and safety standards.

If you want sodas, freshly squeezed juice, or alcoholic beverages, you must purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package.

The cruise line also allows guests to bring up to two 750ml bottles of wine or champagne per stateroom during embarkation. Bringing alcohol on a cruise is a great way to save money on drinks if you don’t purchase a beverage package.

Adventure Ocean Kids Clubs

A young child painting in Royal Caribbean Kids Clubs Adventure Ocean
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean International)

The Royal Caribbean kids club offers some of the cruise industry’s best child care and children’s programming. Royal’s Adventure Ocean kids clubs divide children by age and provide age-appropriate activities led by trained professionals.

Adventure Ocean is available to kids ages three to seventeen and is included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare.

The ships offer educational games and activities for your children to make new friends and learn new things.

Teens can participate in self-led activities around the ship or kick back by playing video games in the onboard arcade.

The club opening times change with the itinerary, so it’s best to check with the daily compass for the next days opening time. No matter the opening time, Adventure Ocean stays open until 10 pm.

After 10 pm, the cruise line offers a paid group sitting service until 2 am. The service costs $7 per hour per child, and it’s great for parents who want to spend a night out without worrying about their kids.

Activities & Entertainment

Passengers taking their seats at the AquaTheatre on Oasis of the Seas cruise ship

Royal Caribbean shines for its adrenaline-pumping, high-thrill activities. But the cruise line offers a variety of activities and entertainment options to suit every traveler.

And most of the entertainment on Royal Caribbean cruise ships is included in your cruise fare.

A live jazz band playing for passengers on the Oasis of the Seas pool deck

You’ll find live music on the pool deck and in the centrum throughout the day. And at night, the ship transforms into a full-blown party at sea.

The entertainment staff hosts games and competitions like bingo, trivia, and the popular belly flop competition. You can check the daily Cruise Compass for more information on the next day’s events.

Daily events are also posted around the ship on the touchscreen TVs near the elevators and the Royal Caribbean mobile app. 

The app is free to use and connects to the ship’s WiFi without an app.

The Royal Caribbean app makes it easy to browse the daily activities and set reminders for onboard activities you want to attend.

Quantum of the Seas FlowRider
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean International

Activities vary by ship, but you’ll often find Flow Rider surf simulators, rock climbing, zip-lining, sky-diving simulators, pools, hot tubs, sports, movies, seminars, art auctions, and more. With so much to see and do, you’ll never get bored on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

In fact, it’s more likely that you won’t have the time to participate in all the activities you want.

A passenger ziplining on Oasis of the Seas by Royal Caribbean docked in Fort Lauderdale, USA

If there’s an activity you really want to try, it’s best to go early in the morning. Long lineups are common at the more popular attractions, especially on sea days.

You’ll find live music and dancing around the ship during the evening. There are also several bars and lounges with unique atmospheres and ambiance.

The Blue Planet live show on Allure of the Seas in the Royal Theatre

The performances in the Royal Theater, AquaTheatre, Studio B, and Two70 are included in your cruise fare. The shows on Royal Caribbean are astounding and a great way to kick off the evening entertainment.

The Royal Theater offers two performances per night. The performances are the same at both shows but allow all guests an opportunity to watch the show, whether you have early or late dining in the main dining room.

During the cruise, the Royal Theatre usually offers two late-night shows for adults; a late-night comedy act and Royal Caribbean’s Love and Marriage Game Show.

Fitness Center

Gym equipement in the fitness center on Serenade of the Seas with panoramic glass windows overlooking the ocean

The fitness center is free to use for all guests. While cruise vacations allow you to indulge in drinks by the pool, 10-course meals at the buffet, and late-night partying, you may want to keep up with your regular fitness routine.

The cruise ship gym offers a surprising amount of free weights, machines, and cardio equipment to keep in shape while at sea. And if you’re looking to try something new, the cruise line offers group fitness classes and personal training sessions.

Most fitness classes and health seminars are free, but some cost extra. Yoga, spinning, and pilates are all free, but some ships offer Zumba and other classes for an additional fee.

Personal training has an added fee, but it’s great for a learning exercise technique and provides accountability.

Every Royal Caribbean cruise ship has a jogging track, usually located by the pool deck. The track’s location is excellent because it provides an incredible ocean view while you get a bit of exercise.

If you’re looking to run, you might be disappointed. While you can run on the track, you will be sharing the track space with pool-goers and other passengers. If you’re looking to get an uninterrupted run, it’s best to visit the track early in the morning when fewer passengers are on the pool deck.

What’s Not Included in a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

Alcoholic Drinks, Soda, and Specialty Coffee and Tea

Hawaii mai tai drinks beside a cruise ship pool

Alcoholic drinks cost extra on Royal Caribbean cruises. You can purchase drinks individually or purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package.

The drink prices are higher than you’ll find back home. And in 2022, Royal Caribbean upped the prices of all premium drinks.

Royal Caribbean’s Deluxe Beverage Package includes beer, wine, cocktails, mocktails, specialty coffees, premium teas, freshly squeezed juices, bottles of water, and fountain sodas. The prices for the drink package vary but typically cost between 63 and $89 per person daily.

Three young friends toasting with cocktail drinks on a cruise ship

The drink package has an automatic 18% gratuity and covers the price of all drinks up to $13 per glass. If a drink costs more than $13, you simply pay the difference and the service charge.

The cruise line also offers two non-alcoholic drink packages and a Premium Coffee Package, where you can pre-purchase 15 specialty coffees and teas.

If you purchase a drink package, you can use it at any of the cruise ships’ complimentary and specialty restaurants. The drink package is also available at Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee, Haiti resorts.

There are some restrictions to the drink packages, including room service, mini bar purchases, and bottles of alcohol, which are not included.

Specialty Restaurants

Sorrento's Specialty Restaurant on spectrum of the Sea
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean ships offer several specialty restaurants with upscale menus at an additional cost.

The offering of specialty restaurants varies by ship but may include:

  • Johnny Rockets
  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Sabor
  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi
  • Jamie’s Italian
  • Samba Grill
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen
  • Wonderland
  • Portside BBQ
  • Chef’s Table
  • 150 Central Park
  • Hooked Seafood
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • The Mason Jar

Smaller Royal Caribbean ships only offer two or three specialty restaurants, while the largest cruise ships have over eight.

Specialty restaurants offer a unique menu, with items not available anywhere else on the ship.

Chef's Table exclusive specialty restaraunt on Quantum of the Seas
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean)

They also provide an upscale feel and enhanced ambiance to match the restaurant’s theme.

If you’re a foodie, specialty restaurants are one place you’ll want to splurge. It may be worth purchasing specialty dining packages if you plan to dine at multiple restaurants.

My favorite pick is Izumi Hibachi & Sushi. I might be biased, but they offer the best sushi at sea. Chef’s Table and Ben & Jerry’s are my other favorites.

WiFi Packages

Man on the Balcony of a cruise ship using his laptop

Royal Caribbean’s Voom WiFi packages are not included in your cruise fare. While the Royal Caribbean app connects to the ship’s internet without purchasing a WiFi package, you will need one to browse the web, message, or send emails.

The cruise line uses Starlink satellite internet across the Royal Caribbean fleet for some of the fastest internet speeds at sea. Download speeds of 50Mbps are typical for Caribbean sailings.

Royal Caribbean offers two WiFi packages; Voom Surf and Voom Surf and Stream. The surf and stream package costs more but provides faster internet speeds.

The price of the internet packages varies but is typically between $12.99-$15.99 per device per day for the surf package and $17.99-$19.99 per device per day for surf and stream.

Shore Excursions

White Pass Railroad Engine traveling over the iconic wooden bridge

One of the most significant benefits of cruising is exploring multiple ports of call without unpacking. Shore excursions and guided tours are the best way to explore the local area and culture.

These tours can be booked through the cruise line, private groups, or directly through the tour operator. The prices range from cheap walking tours to thousands of dollars for private helicopter rides.

But you don’t need to purchase a shore excursion to explore the port. You can simply walk the town, visit the shops, or pay for a taxi ride through the city.

Some Activities and Entertainment

Passengers taking a ride on North Star on the Spectrum of the Seas cruise ship
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean International)

Nearly all of the activities and entertainment is included in your cruise fare. But, some fitness classes, dance classes, bingo, cooking classes, the North Star, all-access tours, escape rooms, spa treatments, and the casino cost extra.

Of course, shopping at the onboard stores for souvenirs, bottles, or other items cost extra.

Room Service

Royal Caribbean Room Service continental breakfast on Oasis of the Seas
(Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line)

Royal Caribbean offers 24/7 room service. The room service menu offers a complimentary continental breakfast from 6:00 am to 11:00 am. The continental breakfast is free and does not have a delivery fee.

Though free, the continental room service menu is limited. Most guests would be better off ordering from the a la carte breakfast menu or the All Day Room Service Menu available from 11:00 am to 6:00 am.

The American Breakfast and All Day Menu have a delivery fee of $7.95 per order per stateroom.

Because the delivery fee is per order, you can order as many items as you want for the same price.

Gratuities

Royal Caribbean Crew Members smiling at the camera
(Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean)

Like other mainstream cruise lines, Royal Caribbean charges an automatic daily gratuity. The automatic cruise gratuities are not included in your cruise fare.

As of December 26, 2022, Royal Caribbean charges a gratuity of $16.00 per person for guests in Junior Suites and below and $18.50 per person for Grand Suites and above guests.

There’s also an 18% automatic gratuity added to beverage packages, drink purchases, and spa treatments. The 18% gratuity goes towards the bar and spa staff, excluded from the daily gratuities.

Royal Caribbean passengers have two options for paying cruise gratuities. Many passengers pay daily during the cruise. The cruise line charges the automatic gratuity daily to your onboard spending account.

But you have the option to prepay gratuities at the time of purchase.

We prefer prepaying gratuities because it makes budgeting easier, allowing us to recognize how much we will spend.

It’s a common mistake for first-time cruisers to ignore the daily gratuity. It’s a big surprise to find you’ve been charged $16 per person per day when you receive your final bill at the end of the sailing.

Prepaying gratuities prevents that surprise, and it’s one less headache to worry about later.

Royal Babies & Tots

Royal Caribbean is one of the only cruise lines offering services for babies and toddlers through their Royal Babies & Tots Nursery.

The paid service runs from 9 am to 6 pm at $6 per hour per child and from 6 pm to midnight at $8 per hour per child.

The nursery staff are certified and trained in accordance with Florida State Regulations, and the ratio of kids to staff must be at least one staff member for every three babies or four toddlers. The highly trained staff and low ratio mean you can rest assured that your child receives the best care while you spend a day in port or relax by the pool.

Final Thoughts

When sailing with Royal Caribbean, it’s essential to understand what’s included in your cruise fare. Knowing what’s included and what costs extra can help you budget for the cost of the entire cruise.

When determining the cruise cost, drink packages, WiFi, specialty restaurants, casino, and shopping all factor into how much a cruise costs.

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Marcello De Lio

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